Fillings are done to remove decay and replace the affected tooth structure. It is called a filling because a new material fills the hole that decay left. Nowadays most teeth are treated with bonded tooth-colored composite resin fillings. Caught early enough, cavities can be treated easily and painlessly. If not treated decay can lead to tooth pain and/or infection, and the tooth would need root canal treatment or extraction.
There are different types of dentures, but they share their common function. They replace teeth that have become loose or been lost due to bone loss. When bone loss around the roots of teeth is great enough to loosen them or let them fall out, it’s time for dentures. Relax. No one enjoys losing their natural teeth, but you can still eat and talk regularly.
The entire mouth is examined and a determination is made as to which teeth will have to be removed, and which will remain. The loose teeth are then extracted. Dentures are fitted to go over or around whatever teeth remain in the mouth, depending on the type. There is an adjustment period after dentures are placed in the mouth, and it can take some getting used to. But once accustomed to the dentures, all the normal functionality and appearance return and one just carries on as usual. Often implants can used to further stabilize the dentures.
A dental implant is an option to replace a missing tooth. In this procedure, a small titanium shaft is surgically implanted into the bone and allowed to set. The bone grows around it forming a tight connection, which additionally slows or stops the bone loss that occurs when the root of a natural tooth is missing. Once the implant is firmly set in the mouth, the dentist then works to attach the replacement tooth onto the top of the shaft. This permanent solution has the advantages over bridge work in that it does not stress the surrounding teeth for support, and, should the tooth wear out, another can simply be replaced on the implant.
Implants can also be used as support as part of an implant bridge. This is an alternative to partial dentures, and has several advantages. First, there is no adjustment period to acclimatize the patient who, once the work is done, only feels teeth, not metal supports intruding into the mouth. Second, this slows the bone loss occasioned by missing teeth. Third, there is no discomfort or difficulty in eating. And, best of all, of course, they don’t have to be taken out all the time.
We also offer mini dental implants. These implants, which are about half the diameter of traditional implants are used mainly to stabilize lower dentures. These implants can be placed in one appointment and be immediately used. The cost is 50-70% of standard dental implants. Call for a free consult.
Root canal treatment (also referred to as root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) is made necessary when a cavity is allowed, through neglect, to reach all the way to the pulp. (Regular cleanings and checkups prevent and detect problems early) Sometimes deep restorations or trauma to a tooth may cause the nerve to be damaged to the point it needs root canal therapy. Once this occurs, the pulp becomes infected and can even extend through the root tip and begin to eat away at the surrounding bone (this is an abscess). By the time the pulp is infected it must be treated and cannot heal on its own. It can even weaken the entire immune system. This is dangerous, not to mention very painful. Symptoms that the pulp has become infected may include sensitivity to hot/cold or sweets, pain, swelling, pain to biting or pressure, and a bad taste in the mouth. Sometimes, however, no symptoms are apparent and the person is unaware of any problem until a checkup.
A root canal is then performed to clean out the infected tooth pulp, and disinfect the canals of the tooth. The only other treatment would be to extract the tooth. Once the infection is resolved, the canal(s) are filled in to prevent any further infection. Usually, a core build-up and crown is recommended for restoring a tooth that has had root canal therapy.
This is an option for filling the space created by a missing tooth. It is formed to look like the missing tooth, and it takes its place in the mouth. The sides of a bridge use the two surrounding teeth for support, hence the name. A bridge replaces the missing tooth, both functionally and cosmetically. Bridge work is as much an art as it is an exact science. The materials used may be gold alloys, porcelain bonded to metal alloy, or all ceramic material. The choice of material depends on requirements for strength, wear, and/or esthetics.
It is important that a missing tooth be replaced as soon as possible for several reasons. If not treated, the teeth surrounding the gap begin to shift inward, creating a chain reaction of bad things. Teeth use their neighbors for support, and with one missing, they start to “collapse.” As this worsens the bite changes in response to the pressure. This can eventually result in problems with the entire jaw, e.g. TMJ. The surrounding teeth deteriorate and it is just a matter of time before they too, are lost. Gum disease becomes a serious problem, with the difficulty of treatment increasing as the neglect continues.